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Happy Anniversary to The Regulator

Durham’s The Regulator Bookshop turned forty this month. From all of us at the Network: happy birthday!

The Regulator Bookshop has been at 720 Ninth St. since December 4, 1976. Back then, Durham was still very much a mill and tobacco town. Ninth St. was occupied by grills that served only breakfast and lunch; a hardware store; a post office. As founder Tom Campbell tells it, the bookstore’s opening was:

a harbinger of change to come. More change than we could ever have imagined at the time.

It’s impossible to name every luminary who has read and signed books at The Regulator in the past forty years. It’s safe to say pretty much anybody you might have heard of has had an event there, and plenty of lesser known—and relatively unknown—writers as well. Because The Regulator is above all a community bookstore, intent to serve.

“In our best moments we realize that this place exists only as a partnership with our community and our customers,” says Tom. “We hope you always feel free to contribute to our ongoing dialogue, and that you will want to participate in our partnership for many years to come.”

Mark your calendars for Saturday, February 18, 2017, when The Regulator will have “a big anniversary party at the store, with refreshments, great company, local authors, and more!”

The Regulator is located at 720 Ninth St. in Durham:

America, I Sing You Back

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

Poet Allison Adelle Hedge Coke grew up in North Carolina and attended North Carolina State University. Her poem “America, I Sing You Back” was recently featured on UNC-TV (PBS News Hour).

Before America began to sing, I sung her to sleep,
held her cradleboard, wept her into day.
My song gave her creation, prepared her delivery,
held her severed cord beautifully beaded.

To read the full poem, and listen to Allison read her work, click here.

Hedge Coke is a distinguished professor of creative writing for the University of California, Riverside. Her books include The Year of the Rat (chapbook), Dog Road Woman, Off-Season City Pipe, Streaming, Blood Run (poetry/verse-play); and a memoir Rock Ghost, Willow, Deer. Hedge Coke has edited eight additional collections, and directs the Literary Sandhill Crane Retreat & Festival and has been awarded fellowships/residencies with Weymouth Center for the Arts, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, MacDowell Colony, and many others. Her honors include an American Book Award, Library of Congress Witter Bynner Fellowship, a Lifetime Achievement Award, a Mentor of the Year Award, an IPPY Medal, a Pen Southwest Book Award, three distinguished positions, and numerous literary and arts grants.

Hedge Coke has worked as a mentor and teacher with Native Americans—on reservations, in urban areas, in juvenile facilities, mental institutions, and in prisons—and several other at-risk youth communities. She is a poet, writer, performer, editor, and literary activist. She came of age cropping tobacco and working fields, waters, and working in factories.

Hedge Coke says says this particular poem was born not out of anger but concern for what she saw happening in the United States twelve years ago. She said she was especially alarmed by the greediness of politicians to take natural resources from the land.

For the full story, click here.

Helping Western North Carolina

1130150943bAt the Fall Conference the first week of November, we asked for your donations to help North Carolinians affected by floods in the eastern part of the state.

This last week of November, we’re asking for your donations to help North Carolinians affected by fires in our western mountains, as well as in the mountains of east Tennessee.

Catherine Carter, our volunteer Rep for Jackson County, reports that the Center for Service Learning at Western Carolina University is collecting donated supplies for the firefighters who have battled these wildfires for several weeks now. They especially need the following:

beef jerky – lip balm – eye wash – wool caps/toboggans – bandannas – protein and breakfast bars – boot socks – travel-size hand wipes – travel-size hand lotion – travel-size Gold Bond foot powder – handwarmer gloves

Please mail these items to:

Center for Service Learning
Western Carolina University
90 University Way
Belk 273
Cullowhee, NC 28723

Cash donations can be made to the American Red Cross, as well as other service organizations, including the Dollywood Foundation’s “My People Fund.”

Thank you for helping our neighbors in this time of need.

Give to the Network on Giving Tuesday

Writing lectureIf you are in a giving mood on this Giving Tuesday, we hope you will give to the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

After all, the Network has given a great deal to a great many writers in 2016:

Maybe you were one of the hundreds of writers who came to our Spring Conference in Greensboro, our Squire Summer Writing Residency in Charlotte, and/or our Fall Conference in Raleigh.

Maybe you used our Critiquing & Editing Service, or came to one (or more) of the monthly events hosted by our Regional and County Reps all over the state.

Maybe you took part in our beta online class last summer, or you’ve signed up to take part in our official first-ever online class, coming up December 14.

Maybe you entered (or won!) one of our four annual writing contests. Maybe you plan to enter (and win!) one of them, or all of them, in the coming weeks.

Maybe you’re one of the many writers who volunteered to take part in our new Prison Writers Outreach.

Maybe you found a writing class or critique group near you thanks to our weekly NC Literary Calendar e-blast, or answered a call to submission you found in our Opportunities e-blast, or listed your own events in our Member Readings e-blast.

The Network cannot continue to give so much to so many writers, though, unless you give us your support.

A gift in any amount will help us continue our support, education, promotion, and connection of writers at all levels of skill and experience, all across this state, and beyond. Your gift to the Network will help the Network remain as accessible as possible, to as many writers as possible, for as long as possible.

You can give to the Network using your VISA, MasterCard, or Discover through our online form (select “Giving Tuesday” from the dropdown menu), or by calling 336.293.8844 or 919.308.3228.

If you prefer to send us a check, please make it payable to the NC Writers’ Network, and mail it to P.O. Box 21591, Winston-Salem, NC, 27120.

If you have interest in becoming a sponsor of one of our programs or services, or in advertising through the Network, please contact Charles Fiore at to discuss the available opportunities.

If you ever have questions or comments about what the Network is doing, please do not hesitate to let me know. Thank you for your support of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and for helping to keep North Carolina the “Writingest State.”

NaNoWriMo Arrives

Portrait of group of students making notes or writing test with serious guy in front

We’ve flipped the calendar to November, which means it’s National Novel Writing Month. Would-be novelists the world over have set themselves word-count goals in order to finish a rough draft of a novel-length manuscript by month’s end.

To help with that, venues are hosting NaNoWriMo events where you can pull up a chair and get to work, supported by others who’ve committed to cranking out a longer piece prior to December 1.

Here are just a few around North Carolina, courtesy of Lady Banks’ newsletter and Authors ‘Round the South:

Write-Ins at Grapes & Grounds (writers group)
11/10/2016, 4:00-6:00 PM | Grapes & Grounds | Smithfield

An Evening of Fantastical Insanity with John Hartness and Jake Bible (writers group)
11/10/2016, 07:00 pm | Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville

Free Prompt Writing Class with Nancy Peacock (writers group)
11/12/2016, 10:00 am | Flyleaf Books | Chapel Hill

NaNoWriMo Writing Session (writers group)
11/14/2016, 09:00 am | City Lights Bookstore | Sylva

11/19/2016, 01:00 pm | Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville

Writer’s Group of the Triad, Open Mic (writers group)
11/20/2016, 03:00 pm | Scuppernong Books | Greensboro

11/21/2016, 07:00 pm | Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe | Asheville


Natural Disaster Resources for the Arts

North Carolina Arts Council Executive Director Wayne Martin sent an e-mail in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, offering resources for artists and arts organizations should a natural disaster strike. We wanted to pass it along:

Hurricane Matthew hit our state last weekend and the torrential rain that fell continues to cause massive flooding in many regions of eastern North Carolina. The cities of Lumberton, Fayetteville, Greenville, Wilson, Kinston, Goldsboro, Rocky Mount, and Princeville and many smaller towns and rural communities along our coast are dealing with Matthew’s aftermath.

The North Carolina Arts Council is conducting an informal inventory of potential damage to the arts infrastructure in eastern North Carolina and we will keep you posted on needs of our arts constituents and partners.

The following national and state resources are available for arts organizations and artists who are confronted with natural disasters and are seeking assistance.

For Arts Organizations:

ArtsReady is a national initiative of South Arts that is a web-based emergency preparedness resource designed to provide arts organization subscribers with customized business continuity plans for post crisis sustainability.

Essential Guidelines for Arts Responders,
The attached document was prepared by National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response to help artists and arts organization before, during and after disasters.

North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office,
The agency provides assistance technical preservation services to the public. Offices are located in Asheville, Raleigh and Greenville.

For Artists:
Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+),
CERF+ provides emergency grants and loans to craft artists and maintains resources for emergency readiness and recovery for artists in all disciplines.

Studio Protector,
A variety of resources for artists including tips on how to obtain assistance from FEMA and the Small Business Administration.

If any of you would like to provide financial support to assist in the recovery, donations can be made to:

North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund
Office of the Governor
20312 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, N.C. 27699-0312

Those who work in the arts here in North Carolina are a close knit community and many of us are thinking of our colleagues whose lives have been affected by Hurricane Matthew. We also know that the arts will be a means for healing and rebuilding our communities. Please don’t hesitate to contact the North Carolina Arts Council if we can be of assistance to you in the weeks and months ahead.

Wayne Martin, Executive Director
North Carolina Arts Council

Hotel Options Near Fall Conference

Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley

Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley

The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2016 Fall Conference runs November 4-6 at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley. While there are no more rooms available at the venue site, here are some nearby options, all less than one mile away from the conference:

Please note, rates are subject to change, but current as of this post.

Pre-registration for the NCWN 2016 Fall Conference ends Friday, October 28. Register now!

Why You Need an Author Website

You hear it from all corners, really: authors need their own personal website. True, not every author has one, including some really famous ones. So in this day of Facebook author pages and Instagram accounts, is an author website even necessary?

Donna Talarico answers this question at length on The Writer magazine website. Before we say anything else, let’s start by directing you to the full article here.

Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Your website is a hub of activity. “An author website can serve as the authoritative link to all other web-based properties about you.”
  • Content matters. She offers plenty of tips to keep your website looking dynamic and bringing in traffic.
  • Design matters. See above.
  • Think across devices. More and more people are viewing your website on their phones, tablets, etc.
  • Mind your metrics. Google Analytics is free to install and use, and it can help you bring the right people to your site.

Definitely give the entire article a read. If you’re on the fence now, you’ll be a convert after.

Programs such as WordPress and Blogger let you fire up websites for free using What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) dashboards. Domain names are affordable, especially if purchases for more than a year and set to automatically renew, through sites such as GoDaddy.

Plenty of famous authors don’t have websites. But for the rest of us, and emerging writing especially? Yeah, we need one.

Fall Conference Exhibitors: Part 4

Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2016 Fall Conference closes Friday, October 28. If you haven’t signed up, go ahead and do that now. We’ll wait.

Are you back? Great! Over the past few weeks we’ve been introducing the vendors who’ll be at the conference:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Now, last but not least:

Underground Book Reviews believes the average consumer won’t take the time to browse new, obscure titles. Instead, most people rely on recommendations from friends, trusted media. But apart from a few magazine awards, some online competitions, and a plethora of amateur book review blogs, the literary community lacks such an award system for indie authors. Until now. UBR does not charge for reviews or even accept review copies. They encourage authors to take risks, but they’re with them every step of the way. From beta reading to editorial services, the back-end of Underground Book Reviews is set up to be a booming literary community full of free-thinkers and budding authors. Through both user recommendations and professional reviews, the diamonds in the rough are given a chance to shine through. What do they review? Self-published and independently published fiction; novels and novellas of all genres; and adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction. What don’t they review? Books published through indie houses they consider too large/mainstream, AKA “Above Ground”; nonfiction, including memoirs; children’s books; short story compilations, graphic novels, or poetry compilations; or books published by their staff, reviewers, or affiliates.

Wisdom House Books is a publishing hybrid boutique, offering all the advantages of alternative publishing while still maintaining a standard of the highest quality production and design. They make publishing one’s manuscript easy and affordable. Their mission is to produce quality books that make a positive difference in the world. Whether a writer has an inspiring personal story, a spiritual message, a key to better health and well-being, or a new method for financial success, they will personally and professionally guide a book through the publishing process with care and integrity. They provide all the services of a major publisher, but the author retains 100 percent of the royalties and 100 percent of the selling profits. There are no “Publishing Packages” or “Levels” here. They simply offer a list of services to select based on what works best for an author’s goals and budget. For a list of Wisdom House Books authors, click here. Recent books include The Lesson Project: Lessons of Life, Love, and Listening to God by Christine C. Williams, which was reviewed in Publisher’s Weekly, and Fate Ball by Adam W. Jones, whose book tour has taken him to some unconventional places to reach more readers.

The North Carolina Writers’ Network facilitates regional groups in many of our state’s counties. These groups are run by regional reps who host free, monthly events such as open mics, featured speakers, and classes focused on writing exercises. If you’re interested in finding a regional group near you, stop by the regional rep table to pick up some information.

The North Carolina Writers’ Network Fall Conference offers courses on elements of the craft, the business of writing, and the chance to have one’s manuscript critiqued by a professional editor. 2016 NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee Margaret Maron will give the Keynote Address. 2014 NC Literary Hall of Fame inductee and current NC poet laureate Shelby Stephenson will be the featured guest at Saturday night’s banquet.

To register, click here.

Donate Children’s Books to Hurricane Matthew Victims

From our friends at the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources:

Child reading at the State Library.

Child reading at the State Library.

Raleigh—While many household items and family treasures have been lost to Hurricane Matthew, books can help children of all ages escape for a bit from the storm’s tremendous devastation. The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, in partnership with the North State Journal, is asking for donations of children’s books for Hurricane Matthew victims.

New or gently used books may be dropped off beginning Saturday, October 5 in 65-gallon bins located at these locations:

  • North Carolina Museum of History, 5 E. Edenton St., Raleigh;
  • North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 W. Jones St., Raleigh; and
  • North Carolina State Capitol Historic Site, 1 E. Edenton St., Raleigh

“So many families have lost everything following Hurricane Matthew, and for the children displaced by this disaster, that includes books,” said Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz. “Books and stories can serve as an escape from our daily troubles, and it is our hope that this effort will bring some joy and comfort to the families affected by this storm”

To donate, please bring a new or gently used book to place in the bin at one of the four drop-off locations. The books will be collected and delivered to shelters, schools, and public libraries in the following eastern counties: Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Wayne, and Wilson.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational, and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes twenty-seven historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums, and Jennette’s Pier, thirty-nine state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call 919-807-7300 or visit